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This post is the first in a series I will be doing for all of the Bronica SQ kit that I own, maybe I'll even do the lenses in focal length order. In which case starting with the 40mm is not a bad choice, as my 500mm has not really been put through its paces yet.

TL;DR

  • Great when coupled with the 6x4.5 or 135W backs.
  • Poor sharpness in the corners for 6x6 images which can be a distraction.
  • Annoying 95mm filter thread, leather lens cap and built in lens hood.
  • Unless you absolutely need the extra 10mm of medium format wideness, you'd probably be better off with the 50mm, at around half the cost.

The specs

Focal Length: 40mm

Aperture: f4-f22 in full stop increments

Filter thread: 95mm

Lens hood: built in

Focussing distance: around 3.75m

Price: £300-400

Other versions: The PS version doesn't have the lens hood built in. This is an advantage for adding filters as they are quite hard to get off on the S model.

Comments from real world usage
This is the widest rectalinear lens for the Bronica SQ system (the 35mm f3.5 is a fish eye), and is also one of the most expensive to purchase (at the time of writing only the rare 500mm f8 appears to cost more although I couldn't find a 35mm for sale). Compared to the other lenses it feels pretty bulky due to its massive 95mm filter thread and built in metal lens hood. The 95mm filter thread is pretty annoying as I have consolidated to 2 sets of filters for all of my cameras - 77mm and 52mm - and use step up rings to accomodate them, so typically I'll be using this without a filter as 95mm ones are generally crazy expensive. I did in fact buy a cheap CPL in 95mm thread, and stupidly after fitting it I wondered, perplexed how I would get it back off. The small screw in ring of the CPL was almost completely under the built in lens hood and I had to resort to a small screw driver to finally unscrew. That being said it is nice to have a built in hood as it would probably be an annoying thing to find if it wasn't included with the lens like is typical with the PS version. The slip on fake leather lens hood is also quite annoying as it will often fall off. As for the build quality, there isn't much to dwell on here, its the same as all Bronica lenses. Solid metal construction with smooth focussing.

Onto some images. The biggest thing I have noticed so far is that the corner sharpness is poor, which I find can be distracting in contrast to the relatively sharp centre in 6x6. However in 6x4.5 and 135W formats this lens does really come into its own as the unsharp corners are now conveniently cropped out. Therefore unless I really need the wide perspective for a 6x6 image I would normally tend to use the 50mm instead, which is also weighs around 10% less.